Page 1505 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 1 June 2022

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motion and not the “calls on” part of Mr Hanson’s motion, as the requests are reasonable and the ACT Greens are pleased to support them.

We have discussed the systemic issue of teacher shortages in the ACT several times throughout this term of the Assembly. Last year the local branch of the AEU published a members report which found that schools throughout the ACT are deeply impacted by teacher shortages. We know that these shortages lead to grave workplace health and safety concerns for teachers and students alike.

In response to the AEU’s report, the Education Directorate, in partnership with the union, have established the Teacher Shortage Taskforce, which is the first of its kind in the country and is tasked with trying to limit the impact of national shortages here in the ACT. A necessary part of this work is the development of accurate workforce estimates and projections for the numbers, distribution and expertise of teachers across the territory, work that has been necessary for some time and discussed previously in this Assembly.

As a strong advocate for our public schools and our teachers, families and communities, I have been in constant discussions with the Education Union since my first week in this office about the impact of shortages on teacher safety, education delivery and school culture. In my dealings with the AEU ACT Branch, I have been confident in their practical approach to dealing with these issues and their generous contributions to the Teacher Shortage Taskforce thus far.

Teacher shortages around the country are causing significant issues across the public and non-government education sectors. As we have noted many times before, necessary COVID quarantines have only exacerbated these pre-pandemic shortages, having a profound impact on our teachers and the young people that they are educating.

It is absolutely necessary to note the issues faced across the country in relation to this issue, and I extend my solidarity not only to members of our teachers union but those in the New South Wales Teachers Federation and the Independent Education Union who have felt forced to strike in recent weeks over the same issues.

As a local member first and foremost, I am of course particularly concerned about the impact of these shortages on the schools and families in my electorate of Brindabella. In recent weeks there have been reports particularly surrounding Calwell High School, a school community which I am proud to have a strong relationship with. I am reassured by the government’s recent announcement of an independent review into the issues at Calwell High School.

This review does not demonstrate a failing, Mr Assistant Speaker, but rather calling for such a review and supporting and funding such a review is a demonstration of a commitment to due diligence and transparency around what is proving to be a very challenging situation. The systemic issues surrounding the conditions of teachers, including their pay, intensifying workloads and increasing administrative burdens, have been brought to bear on this school, impacting those who call it a workplace as well as the young people who attend.

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